Canadian journalists increasingly under attack online, says Ipsos survey

The first-ever Canadian survey of online harassment against journalists and media
professionals shows that attacks are on the rise and having serious repercussions on both
individuals and the industry as a whole.

The results of the Ipsos survey were shared with participants at the #NotOK — Stand Up for Journalism and Democracy virtual forum, a two-day event hosted by CBC/Radio-Canada and attended by journalists and media professionals from across the country.

The survey finds that:

  • Harassment is prevalent and pervasive — 72% experienced some form of
    harassment in the past year.
  • Harassment online is most common — 65% experienced harassment online. One in
    five experience online harassment weekly or more frequently.
  • Online harassment isn’t criticism, it’s personal — The most common forms of
    harassment are sexualized messages or images, physical threats, comments related to
    gender identity and ethnicity or nationality, and use of people’s names or images without
    their permission.
  • Harassment includes death threats — Just over one in ten of those who have
    experienced online harassment have received a death threat in the course of their work;
    nearly as many received threats against their family, were threatened with blackmail, or
    were threatened with rape or sexual assault.
  • Women, BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ people are at greater risk — They face
    disproportionately more online harassment than others, as well as greater severity of
    harassment. LGBTQ2+ respondents report the highest prevalence of online harm of any
    group — 78% in the past year (compared to 65% for all respondents).
  • The impact of online abuse is devastating — One in four experience mental health
    challenges as a result of the harassment and one in three have considered leaving
    journalism or the media industry in the last 12 months. Losing these voices is bad for

The full report can be downloaded here.